Darts

Awesome Dart Games to Elevate Your Next Party

Darts can be a great form of entertainment to play with friends and family.  Here are four fun dart games to bring out at your next get-together.

Cricket

The objective of this game is to “close” all your numbers – 20 down through 15 and bulls-eye – and finish with equal or more points than your opponent. You close a number by hitting three of that number.

Around the Clock

This is a simple game that is great to play with unexperienced dart players. The goal in each game is to become the first player to hit every number on the board (in order) with one dart.

Baseball

Yes, for all you baseball fans out there, you can play baseball with darts. Baseball is another straightforward dart game to enjoy with your guests. This game can have as many players and teams as you would like. The goal is to score the most runs per inning. The highest score at the end of the game wins.

X01

This is an easy dart game for you and your friends to play. The concept is simple so even the least experienced player can play and have fun. The game play starts with a score of 301, 401, 501, 601 or 1001. The goal is to get exactly zero by tossing three darts and subtracting the sum of those three throws from your current score.

Mulligan

Is your party full of skillful dart players? Mulligan may be the game for you. Although conceptually very easy to grasp, this game is no cake-walk. There is no restriction on how many players can play this game and the aim is to “close” six random numbers and the bullseye before your competitors.

Try these games at your next social and see how much fun you have! Read up on more detailed instructions to get a better sense of how to play the games.

outdoor living

How to Create the Outdoor Space of Your Dreams

We all have different styles and tastes, so your outdoor patio should reflect those styles and tastes. Don’t worry about having the same patio design as your neighbour. When it comes to outdoor furniture, there is such a huge variety in designs, textures and materials that originality is no concern.

Patio furniture can refer to a table and chair —lounge chairs and let’s not forget a fan favorite, the hammock.

The key part to outdoor furniture is the outdoor part ; you want to ensure that you choose furniture that is durable enough to withstand the elements. Patio furniture comes in a variety of different materials such as:

  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Or Wicker

If you are looking to transform your outdoor living area, determine the current theme you have or the theme that you wish to have in your backyard. Determining your theme is an important first step so you can purchase furniture that will complement your vision.

So What Patio Furniture Will Take My Outdoor Space to the Next Level?

Bring Warmth to Your Party with a Fire Pit

As the days get shorter and colder, a fire pit can bring heat to your gathering and also serve as a great center piece for social activity.

Fire pits come in two main options: wood-burning and gas-fueled. Wood-burning provides a more natural feel, replicating the feel of a campsite. Gas-burning fire pits are more user-friendly, requiring just the push of a button to start-up.

Gazebo

Gazebos are a great way to relax or entertain in your yard. You can opt for a roof that provides complete protection from sun or rain or a design that allows for more light and airflow through the roof. Gazebos can also have screen walls that still allow you to see through while offering shelter from wind and rain. Another option that many home owners choose to incorporate with their gazebo is a half wall. This could be wooden or stone. The half-wall is mostly a design feature but can also be a protective barrier from winds.     

outdoor patio furniture with gazebo

outdoor patio furniture with gazebo

A gazebo can serve as a shelter for:

  • A fire pit;
  • Your hot tub;
  • A shelter for your outdoor kitchen;
  • A great space for yoga.

Create the Space You’ve Always Wanted

When it comes to your outdoor space, your options are limitless. Another accessory that could be used to decorate your outdoor space could be large planters. Planters are unique as they come in various styles, textures and sizes, while adding plants for your enjoyment in your outdoor space.

The ideal outdoor space is within reach! Hopefully, this article gave you some ideas to incorporate in your own backyard to make it a more enriching living space.

Summer barbeque

Are You Prepared to Throw the Barbeque of the Summer? Here’s What You Need to Know

The summer is fast approaching and before you know it barbeque season will be here again. You want to throw the barbeque that will bring your family and friends together and create those picture perfect moments that will fondly be remembered for years to come. Here’s what you need to know!

Tips for Prepping and Cooking Your Food

Use Non-Reactive Bowls

When cooking make sure to use non-reactive bowls like stainless steel. They provide benefits such as:

  • They are dishwasher-safe;
  • They do not react to acidic ingredients;
  • They do not hold odours.

Brush the Grill When It’s Hot

Debris is easier to remove from the grill when it is hot, so preheat your grill before using a long-handled wire grill brush to keep your rack free of debris from previous meals.

Don’t Forget to Use Oil!

Even after you ensure your grill is clean, lean foods may stick when placed on the grill rack. To reduce the risk of your food sticking, oil prior to placing the food on it. The best method for this is hold oil-soaked paper towel with tongs and rubbing it on your grill rack.

Choose a theme for your barbeque

Now everyone enjoys a good barbeque, but add a theme and you have got yourself a party! For example, what about a Hawaiian Luau or Christmas in July? These are ways to bring another dimension of fun for you and your guests to enjoy. 

Provide Entertainment for Your Little Ones

Now we all appreciate and love the value that our little ones add to our lives, but occupying their attention is easier said than done. To create a barbeque that they will love as well, let’s throw in some more kid friendly activities such as:

  • Badminton. 
  • Soccer. 
  • Or water gun fights.
    summer barbeque fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The list of possible activities goes on and on but I think you get the idea. These are all ways to create an environment that’s not only enjoyable for you but your little ones as well. Who knows, maybe you’ll even grab a water gun yourself.

Incorporate these tips into your next barbeque and you’ll have a memorable event that will have your family and friends eager to come back for more!

Best Free Apps That Simplify Spa Maintenance

Best Free Apps That Simplify Spa Maintenance

Do you ever forget to treat your hot tub or pool water? Or maybe you’re just unsure which chemicals to add to sanitize and balance your water levels. If either scenario sounds familiar, consider downloading the free apps below for assistance.

HowsMyWater

This free iOS app uses the onboard camera to take pictures of pool-testing strips and instantly provide treatment instructions.

Learn more

Insta-Link Water Testing

This app synchronizes with a special pool-testing strip. It works like HowsMyWater, relying on photos for water analysis. Additionally, you can view the history of your water, check the water volume and set maintenance reminders for yourself.

Learn more

Nimbus Pool Doctor

The Nimbus Pool Doctor makes chemical recommendations and keeps a record of past treatments.

Learn more

The Pool Monitor Free

This free app both tracks and calculates the chemical inputs for your pool or spa. It is a great tool for those who are regular about their maintenance but require assistance determining what to put in the water and when.

Learn more

NSPF Suite of Apps

The National Swimming Pool Foundation and inQ Mobile Apps have created a set of iPhone apps for pool service operators and homeowners alike—some free, some paid.

Learn more

Pool Smart

Never forget another maintenance duty with this free pool and spa checklist manager and chemical calculator.

Learn more

Balboa Spa Control App

Compatible with supported Balboa spas, this app lets you control every aspect of the spa—its temperature, filtration, jets and more.

Learn more

iAquaLink

If you own the Zodiac AquaLink pool control system, then you can easily control the entire system via Wi-Fi with this free app.

Learn more

Winter Hot Tub Must Know Tips

Winter Hot Tub Must Know Tips

Living in cold climates means that winters can get pretty harsh, but if you have a hot tub you can make the most out of the freezing temperatures. Hot tubs are an excellent investment and can give you a lifetime of memories, but they also require some care from your end. Read below to learn some tips on how you can make the most out of your hot tubs.

Check Water Levels

If you have an unattended leak, this can become a costly problem—one that can be avoided through regular maintenance checks. When water levels get too low, the heater and pump may stop working, and these are the most expensive parts of a hot tub to repair. Whether you use your hot tub regularly or not, make sure that you check the water levels on a frequent basis.

Keep It at a Set Temperature

Setting a temperature will help keep electric bills down while conserving energy. Constantly increasing and decreasing the temperature can lead to outrageously high bills. You might also want to consider adding a spa blanket to make your spa more energy-efficient.

Piping Protection

Put your hot tub’s freeze protection on to prevent damage during the winter months. Freeze protection ensures that the temperature is constant even when you aren’t using the hot tub. If your hot tub doesn’t have a freeze protection option, all you need to do is use the timer to schedule the tub to go on for just 15 minutes every hour so that warm water is always flowing through the pipes.

Entertain

Make the winter time a memorable season by inviting friends or your significant other to come over and enjoy the hot tub with you. You’re in for days or nights of endless fun in the hot tub; add some hot cocoa or wine and you’re all set. Just make sure that you always provide enough water for your guests because hot tubs mixed with alcohol can be quite dehydrating.

Hot Tubs for Fitness

After your winter workouts, head over to your hot tub to help stretch out your muscles. Hot water is extremely effective in preventing muscle soreness especially after a good workout session. Other people pay for this service when they go to hydrotherapy spas, but you have the convenience of it all right in your own hot tub.

A Short Glossary of Popular Billiards Terms

Different players, households and halls refer to common techniques and equipment by different names. To help standardize the billiards vocabulary, we’ve assembled a small glossary of common terms.

  • Apex: The front ball in the pyramid or rack.
  • Bank shot: When the object ball hits one or more cushions before entering a pocket. It does not qualify as a bank shot if the ball travels adjacent to a rail.
  • Baulk line: A straight line near the bottom of the table, used in snooker.
  • Bed of the table: The inner surface area of the table—the felted area.
  • Break: The opening shot or the total points scored in an inning (snooker).
  • Bridge: An accessory for assisting with long-table shots.
  • Called shot/ball: When a player announces which ball/pocket they are aiming for; the shot is disqualified if the player strikes the wrong ball or pockets in the wrong place.
  • Clean bank: The object ball does not touch any other balls on its way into the pocket.
  • Combination: The cue ball strikes an object ball into another object ball to score either the last contacted or both contacted balls.
  • Cue: The wooden shaft used for striking balls.
  • Cue ball: The white ball directly struck by the cue.
  • Cushion: The rubber borders on the inside of the rails.
  • Dead ball: When the cue ball transfers all speed to its object, causing it to move very little after contact.
  • English: Side spin used to change the roll of the cue or object ball.
  • Feather shot: A shot where the cue ball grazes the object ball.
  • Follow shot: A shot where the cue ball is struck above the center, causing a forward after-spin.
  • Foot of the table: The area of the table where balls are racked at the beginning of a game.
  • Foul: An infraction of the rules—often penalized.
  • Game ball: The shot that wins the game.
  • Head of the table: The area of the table from which the break shot occurs.
  • Jump shot: When the cue ball or object balls comes off the table but remains in the bed.
  • Masse: A significant curve shot made with by elevating the cue and shooting downward.
  • Miscue: A stroke that results in missing the cue ball.
  • Rails: The sides of the table. A rail shot happens when a ball is touching one of the rails.
  • Push shot: The cue tip keeps contact with the cue ball longer than is legal.
  • Split hit: When the first ball of contact cannot be determined.
  • Squeeze shot: A shot made near a crowded pocket.

A Brief History of Billiards

Billiards emerged sometime during the 15th century. It evolved from a Northern European lawn game that resembles modern croquet. The billiards table design borrows many elements from its outdoor roots. For instance, the green felt simulates grass just as the rails, often referred to as banks, act as river banks or perimeters for boxing in the playing field.

To adapt the sport for indoor gameplay, the equipment changed over the years from maces to cues. Maces were wooden sticks with large heads, meant for pushing rather than striking. When the balls would rest against the rails, players would flip the mace over and use the thin end to strike the ball. This technique proved challenging, a reason why players began to use it more frequently in subsequent decades.

The progression towards the modern cue slowly unravelled during the late 1600s. That said, the industrial revolution contributed most to the development of modern billiards equipment.

A Game for the Nobility and Common Folk Alike

The earliest billiards accounts come from the nobility; however, there is substantial evidence that the sport was enjoyed by the peasantry and working class too. In fact, there are references to the sport in various works of art and literature—most notably, Shakespearean plays.  

Interestingly, billiards was the first sport to hold a world championship in 1873. Around this time, the most popular game was English Billiards; Eight-Ball wasn’t invented until the 1900s. Pool games, as we call them today, were popularized in the 20th century as betting games—pool references the pot or ante. Although many forms of billiards involved betting, it was straight billiards and Eight-Ball that kept the name.

The Best Multiplayer Billiards Games

The Best Multiplayer Billiards Games

Popular billiards games like pool and snooker are traditionally for two players. While you can partner up and play doubles, alternating shots makes it difficult to maintain a strategy. Not to mention, when playing with an uneven number of players balancing the teams becomes a challenge.

The following billiards games best suit three-player groups; however, you can add more as needed. Just adjust the rules accordingly.

Cut-Throat

The objective in cut-throat, known also as battleships, is to keep your appointed balls out of the pockets. Each player must protect a range of balls (i.e. numbers one through five) and shoot to sink or block his or her opponent’s balls instead. The player who owns the last ball on the table wins. The standard rules for scratching and breaking apply.

Alternatively, you can play cut-throat in a more familiar manner and try to sink your range of balls first.

Three-Ball

For three-ball, one player racks up three balls into a triangle then counts how many shots it takes to get them into the pockets. The next player does the same. At the end, whoever took the least amount of shots to sink all balls wins the game.

There are many variations of the three-ball game, many include more than just three balls. You can experiment with the rack formation, venturing as far as to separate balls into different groupings. As well, you can play with a rule that requires players to shoot in sequence (i.e. lowest to highest).

Horse

Horse borrows ideas from the trick-shot basketball game. Essentially, one player performs an advanced shot and the other players attempt to do it too. When a player fails to execute the shot, he or she receives a letter. Once a player can spell “HORSE,” he or she loses.

Popular Billiards Games to Play with Friends

Popular Billiards Games to Play with Friends

Billiards tables come in many sizes to accommodate different game styles. For instance, snooker uses an 11’ 8.5” x 5’ 10” table. Conversely, pool tables measure in at 9′ x 4’ 5”. Regarding this smaller size, there are two variants—pocketed and pocketless. Pocketed billiards tables suit standard games like pool whereas pocketless tables are strictly for carom.

Carom

Carom players earn points by rebounding their appointed cue ball off object balls and their opponent’s cue ball. There are three common carom games:

  • Straight rail—the player continues his or her turn so long as the cue ball contacts both an object ball and the opponent’s cue ball per shot;
  • Balkline—this game introduces a balkline, an invisible line parallel to the end of the table, to limit a player’s ability to pool balls together in a corner and receive endless turns.
  • Three-cushion billiards—the player must contact both aforesaid balls as well as three rails on each turn.

Eight Ball, Nine Ball and Straight Pool

In pool games, players shoot at a shared cue ball to sink object balls on the table. For eight ball, each player takes a class—stripes or solids—and shoots to deplete all balls in that class, excluding the eight ball. The eight ball is the last to go in and wins the game.

Nine ball is similar in that the nine ball is reserved for last. However, players do not shoot at either stripes or solid but rather sink balls in order from lowest to highest. Thus, players work both competitively and together to reach nine.

Straight pool uses a scoring system: the first player to reach 100 points wins. Thus, this game requires constant re-racking throughout the game.  

Snooker

Snooker uses a cue ball and 22 snooker balls. The snooker balls are different colours rather than numbers and must go into the pockets in a specific order. Players win based on the number of points earned during the game; however, the goal is to “snooker” opposing players by causing them to foul (hit the wrong ball).

Mistakes That Can Damage Your Pool Table’s Rails

Mistakes That Can Damage Your Pool Table’s Rails

Covering and brushing your billiards table are essential maintenance duties. However, preservation requires more than just smart cleaning and storage: you need to treat the table properly when you and others play on it. Here are three common mistakes billiards players make that cause unnecessary wear and tear.

Leaning and Sitting

Far table shots sometimes require players to lay onto the table if there isn’t a bridge available. Although fashionable, putting this kind of pressure onto the table can crack the seams between its slates. Likewise, sitting on the rails can cause them to sag, collapse the cushion or pull from the cloth—all of which diminish the accuracy and reflexivity of the rails.

Lifting from the Rails

Moving a pool table requires it to first be dismantled or hoisted onto a trolley for safe rolling. The slate is far too heavy to lift the table from its rails—they will likely break off or loosen.

Resting Food and Drink

Apart from the increased risk of spillage, leaving drinks on the table can stamp rings onto the wood and other irreparable blemishes. Not to mention, roughly putting a mug or glass down can dent the rails. Simply using coasters is better than nothing.

Similarly, food on the table can leave stains and crumbs. It’s best to set up small tables around the room for players to store their food and drinks. As well, designate other areas (preferably outside) for smoking, as ash and smoke can also injury the table’s wood and cloth.

How to Treat Spills on Your Billiards Table

How to Treat Spills on Your Billiards Table

Billiards tables get dirty with use. Chalk, dust and other debris are unavoidable during gameplay; however, such things are easy to brush off. Conversely, liquids spilled onto the felt—especially sugary and starchy ones like beer, coolers and juices—can ruin your table unless immediately treated.

Best case scenario, an untended spill will result in only a minor stain. Worst case, the liquid will dry, harden and change the feel of the fabric, causing erratic ball behaviour around the area. Even for amateur players, this can seriously degrade the playability of a table and warrant a re-felting.

Treatment for a Fresh Spill

When a drink first spills onto the table, follow the steps below as quickly as you can.

  1. Dab with a dry lint-free cotton cloth. Make sure that the cloth is white to prevent colours from bleeding onto the felt. Do not rub the spot either; this will stretch the fabric and set the stain quicker.
  2. Rinse the cloth with cool water, then wring it out thoroughly before returning to the spot and blotting the stain again. Warm water will set the stain, so watch the temperature! Repeat this step until the stain has been lifted.
  3. Pour white vinegar into a pot of cool water for step two if the stain is particularly tricky or sticky.
  4. Dry the spot adhering to the instructions outlined in step one. You might not be able to capture all moisture from the table, so you’re best to leave the table open to air dry before playing again.

Instead of vinegar, you can also purchase special billiards table cleaners. This cleaner typically comes in a bottle that dispenses foam. Just refrain from using soaps and detergents! These will leave residue and make matters worse.

How to Care for Your Billiards Cue

How to Care for Your Billiards Cue

High-quality billiards cues can cost several hundred dollars. At that price, you’ll want to protect your investment with a rack, case and a few cleaning supplies. Performing general maintenance, as described below, can extend the lifespan of your cue and keep it consistent during gameplay.

Shaping the Tip

The tip is the most important part of the cue. One that is too flat, round or smooth will cause a miscue. The perfect tip is somewhat domed-shaped (i.e. the curvature of a nickel). It will also be rough to allow the chalk to hold and create friction with the cue ball.

Over time, the shape and texture of the tip will change. You can readjust the tip with fine-grade sandpaper or a special tipping kit from your local billiards store.

Cleaning the Shaft

The cue’s shaft loses its slickness with play. For instance, chalk on the hands or dust from the air can affect how it glides. Occasionally wiping the cue shaft with a wet cloth will remove this build up and other oils. Likewise, you can buy special cue cleaner and polish for optimal performance.

Since cues are made from wood, they are susceptible to warping and denting. Thus, you need to keep your cues in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity. Otherwise, store them in a sturdy, well-insulated case.

For dents, you may be able to pull them out with a little heat and friction. Once pulled, it will bubble on the surface, at which point you can sand it down. That said, it’s sometimes best to bring a damaged cue into the shop and have an expert tend to it.

Wrapping the Butt

The butt end of the billiards cue should have some type of linen or rubber wrap to absorb moisture. This wrap can be replaced with something newer and tighter. Some cues are not wrapped, though, in which case the butt should be treated the same as the rest of the shaft.